India still could not manage to get in to the cartel of civil nuclear trade (the NSG). This is due to the certain fact of India’s poor non-proliferation credentials recognized internationally. However, Indian officials could not be bothered whatever by the decision on NSG membership. For instance, Indian External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “India is not seeking NSG membership as a gift and that India is seeking it on its non-proliferation record.” But the very fact is quite opposite to that owing to the very basic aspect that India is a non-NPT state wherein NSG membership resides for states that are Party to the Treaty.
About India’s first nuclear test a lot has been written with regard to the post-nuclear suppliers group’s debate that it was actually a device derived from Canadian and US exports designated purely for peaceful purposes. It was this so called peaceful nuclear test that compelled the United States and numerous other countries to create the Nuclear Suppliers Group to restrict global nuclear trade more relentlessly.
The West is cracking down on some bona fide integer with regards to Indian nuclear security; especially India’s potential of becoming a hefty fissile material proliferator in the South Asian region. Besides the Indo-US strategic partnership aiming at mutual outcomes, there are several reports in the print and social media by US think tanks and policy-making institutions expressing similar apprehensions.
There was a report by the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs of the Harvard Kennedy School titled “The Three Overlapping Streams of India’s Nuclear Programmes”. It actually identifies the problems in India’s nuclear program arising from gaps in the commitments New Delhi had made after its nuclear deal with the US, and in its separation plan, its Safeguards Agreements and its Additional Protocols. The relationships and overlaps between its three streams of nuclear program — civilian safeguarded, civilian unsafeguarded, their civil and military programs — observed in the report are not transparent.
On the contrary, the international community is continually portraying India’s nuclear track record as A grade — this could be to achieve their (big powers) self-centered goals by posing India as such. After the US, many other countries have followed suit by engaging India in similar kind of uranium deals (Indo-US Nuclear Deal) for a dual purpose. Consequently, it has worse and diverse implications for the South Asian nuclear region.
As a result of these nuclear / uranium deals, especially the Indo-US nuclear deal, India’s Nuclear weapons will surely benefit without having any burden on its indigenous resources. This is because it will give India access to huge reserves of fissile material that would be more than enough for upgradation and enhancing its number of nuclear weapons. This will result in the vertical proliferation that could ultimately initiate an enhanced arms race in the South Asia region. Secondly, the move will also smash the entire emphasize of the non-proliferation regime.
So in actuality, admittedly, India has nothing to give in return to so many deals in the name of the so-called good proliferation record of India. Instead, the Indian nuclear program is unsafe, saying that India’s civilian nuclear energy project, which is being expanded with the help of countries like the United States, can create new potential pathways to the acquisition of fissile material that could be diverted for military purposes.
It is also clear that India has a poor nuclear materials safety record. According to the NTI (Nuclear Materials Security Index), which assesses the security of nuclear materials around the world, India scores below Pakistan, and is ranked only above North Korea and Iran. Thus, assessing all of together, the picture depicts not only the poor state of export controls in the country but further shows the intricate associated concerns of nuclear proliferation and misuse.
For India, NSG membership could [may] boost its international standing as a responsible atomic power and also give it greater influence on issues related to global nuclear trade as many countries are already in line with similar kind of deals as of 2008. However, the country would be the only member of the body that has not signed the NPT; signaling an open discriminatory act towards Pakistan. Since, the NSG decisions as taken on consensus, first China has reaffirmed it is not going to happen, but if it does happens then India could always stand against any civil trade with Pakistan. Resultantly, this would lead to a regional nuclear arms race as India is and would remain out of the NPT and would not have to sign the treaty.
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